• Market Volatility - Fodder for Financial Fears

    Fact: The value of the stock market goes up and down.  It’s called “market volatility”.  How concerned should you be with a thousand point change in the index? Since your reaction can impact your personal portfolio, it’s most important that you have a good perspective. Significant price movements in the stock market grabbed headlines and captivated media pundits throughout 2018. The last week of the year the market experienced large price swings...

  • Improving Efficiency At Board Meetings

    Unproductive board meetings waste time, demotivate board members and frustrate staff.  While most boards function relatively well, they may not be functioning at their highest level. Here are several simple changes you can make right now that will keep your meetings productive and on target. Implement a consent agenda. A consent agenda is a single action item at the start of board meetings that typically includes board minutes, financial information, and anything else that may...

  • 'Clearity' for You and Your Team

    Rather than make New Year’s resolutions, I picked a theme for the year.  That theme was clarity. Having clarity means my actions and words align with my values and purpose.  This keeps me going in a desired productive direction. As I was clearing out old files and closets for the New Year, a new word popped into my brain: Clearity It’s actually not an official word, but it is my new theme. Here is why - clarity often requires a clearing.

  • Taking Hyper-Growth and ROI in Key Sectors to The Next Level

    The Governor and our Legislature have already invested in programs that are delivering over 100X returns to Hoosiers. Prior efforts of Governor Eric Holcomb and the Indiana General Assembly to invest in our workforce have already positively impacted the lives of many Hoosiers, while building upon a solid foundation for economic growth. The 2019 General Assembly has the opportunity to leverage this to achieve exponential growth for Indiana.

  • New Emissions Regulations to Hit The Bottom Line

    Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organization will require all fuels used by container ships to contain no more than 0.5 percent sulfur. The cap is a significant reduction from the existing sulfur limit, which is 3.5 percent, and is well below the industry average of 2.7 percent sulfur content. The new regulation is a year away, but the impact will hit the bottom line in 2019 for companies that import or export goods.

  • 20 Percent Down Payment - Debunked or Not?

    Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned veteran of the house purchase process, you’ve likely heard this adage: “Thou shalt put 20 percent down!”  It’s so entrenched in people’s psyches that many consider it to be a sacred rule. But is it happening in today’s marketplace? What Makes 20 the Magic Number? The answer is simple.  There are lots of reasons and it’s a smart financial decision. There's a significant...

  • Secure Your Perimeters For Real Safety

    Those responsible for ensuring that facilities such as businesses, schools, and churches are safe could learn a lot from the way Secret Service agents think about protection. By understanding the basic approach agents use to create a safe environment, you can improve the security of your facilities and reduce the risk to the people who use them. It's true that Secret Service agents provide the final line of defense for a protectee, and a substantial amount of training goes into...

  • What Do Great Leaders Expect from HR in 2019?

    Did you spend 2018 in a flurry of activity - onboarding new hires, handling disputes among employees, and running open enrollment - only to find that you had little to show for all your hard work? If so, you’re not alone. HR professionals are conscientious to a fault. They won’t let the ball drop, no matter how small it is. This quality is fantastic when it comes to taking care of the people that power your organization. But when it’s time to help...

  • How Honest Do You Want Me To Be?

    Does this make me look fat? The classic question and deadly measure of spousal honesty illustrates the inherent dilemma in conducting customer surveys. Just as spouses typically hesitate before responding, wondering whether the asker is truly seeking honest feedback or fishing for a compliment that might be a little untruthful, many companies claiming to be interested in customer feedback really just want validation that whatever they’re doing is the right thing. Frankly, that...
  • Five Lessons Learned in 25 Years of Business

    For a two-person startup, the idea of reaching the 25th anniversary of your company seems like a distant dream. It’s hard to imagine constructing your own building and surpassing revenue projections you once considered difficult to obtain. Taking risks, accepting and learning from failure, and meeting challenges head-on are only a small part of what it takes to drive a company forward. There are also many other valuable lessons that can be applied to any business looking to hit ...
  • 2018 Investment Review: Top Three Surprises

    What will you remember about 2018? For many it will be the final 12 weeks of the year when the stock market dropped double digits! This wiped out the entire year’s gains and sent most stock categories into negative returns. But that’s not all investors should note about last year. Here’s our pick of the top three 2018 investment strategies that stood out, either for the good or the bad. # 1: Cash Is No Longer Trash After years of miniscule returns on cash, during...

  • A Successful Plan Implementation Needs a PILOT

    It's the time of year when we start new, talk of resolutions and new beginnings. If we're lucky enough, we have a plan in place for the next steps and have "thought strategically." The stark reality is that it’s not enough. In fact, too many plans have been just that, and little more. What's that all about? As a consultant and former executive in businesses, I've been fortunate to have insight into countless organizations, both profit and nonprofit. I saw many of them...
  • ESOP Support Remains Strong Despite Midterm Election Results

    On the surface, November's midterm elections appear to have had a negative impact on ESOPs (Employ Stock Ownership Plans), because ESOP supporters in both arms of Congress were either defeated or retired. However, many supporters still remain and the Indiana environment continues to be strong as evidenced by Gov. Holcomb’s recent declaration of October as “Employee Ownership Month”. This political change was one of the major focuses featured at the recent...

  • Dan Arens is an Indiana-based business growth advisor.

    Grow Your Business In 2019, Another Year of Automation

    Employees at the online retailer gasped when robots were introduced a little more than one year ago. They feared robots would replace all of them. Fortunately, their fears were totally unfounded. In fact, they discovered and developed a much more optimistic view of the future, not only for them, but for the entire company. Employees of Boxed, the online retailer were asking “What is going to happen to us?”

  • Put Your Finances on Autopilot

    Was 2018 a financial disaster for you?  If so, managing your money the same way will likely have the same result in 2019.  Why not try some tools that can help you manage your finances and make saving a breeze. Technology has offered us many improvements and ways to simplify our lives. But sometimes it’s difficult to identify those apps and features that can really make a difference from all the others - especially when it comes to money. Are you leveraging technology...
  • How VR and AR Can Help Keep Engineers Safe and Manufacturing Strong

    The 2018 Indiana Manufacturing Survey, published by accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller, found that 91 percent of Hoosier manufacturers expected to see increases in revenue in 2018. After years of uncertainty, the local manufacturing industry remains a competitive force in the state, in part because of the availability of smart, connected and often automated technology. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are no exception, and the application of these technologies...

  • How Does Indiana Stack Up in the 2018 Top State Business Climate Rankings?

    Indiana fared quite well in the 2018 Site Selection Magazine's Top Business Climate rankings that were released a few weeks ago.  It is important to note that rankings do not drive decisions for site selection projects, yet they are reflective of various factors that are considered during the process.  While every project has its own set of nuances, being ranked highly suggests that positive elements are in place for companies to be successful.

  • Review Responses: An Untapped Branding Resource

    With the holiday season in full swing, odds are that you have some travel plans ahead. For many, that includes hotel bookings. If you’re anything like me, you tend to search around before booking a hotel to find the best price. In my experience, there’s a key player in that search that routinely impacts my ultimate decisions. That would be consumer reviews. Whether it’s on Google or a third-party site, the reviews of people who have actually stayed at the hotel...

  • Outsourcing the Biggest Part of Your Business

    What if you're forced to close your business’ doors without having the slightest idea it was coming? Best case scenario, you’re able to get an attorney who can help you save it, but nine times out of ten, the damage is irreversible. The dangers of non-compliance are real. They're costly, and they’re jeopardizing many businesses. As 2019 nears, it’s time to evaluate the human resources (HR) issues that may be dissolving your business or your bottom line.

  • What's Your College Student's Financial Intelligence?

    Do you have a child who’s headed to college - or maybe already attending?  If there was a financial intelligence exam, you would want your student to ace it!  Help your student develop good money management skills. That knowledge will pay dividends for a lifetime! For most students, going off to college is the first time they’ll be on their own. It’s imperative that they learn to be responsible for themselves. As parents, we hope any lapse in personal...

  • Scott Flood is the owner of Scott Flood Writing.

    The Art of The Apology

    You screwed up. You handled something the wrong way, or you failed to handle it when you should have. Now what are you going to do? If you're a big company, you're probably going to screw up some more. Oh, you’ll attempt some kind of public apology, but it will be so halfhearted or passive-aggressive that you'll get called on it, and you’ll find yourself taking a second whack at the apology tree. That's the conclusion I’ve drawn as I've...

  • What Do Customers Really Think of You?

    Ask a business owner how her customers think about the services they receive or the products they use, and you’ll hear comments like "they love us." But when a third party asks those customers the same question, the results can be eye-opening. I recently shared the story about developing a customer profile for a professional services firm that was eager to grow but lacked useful marketing intelligence about the business it was already handling. We helped them...

  • Want to Build a Culture of Experimentation? Embrace Failure First

    Failure. It’s not something all business leaders are comfortable embracing, yet it’s integral to success. That’s because failure signals attempt - and without those undertakings, none of the world’s greatest inventions would have ever come to fruition. So when company leaders decide they want to cultivate a culture of experimentation within their company, it’s important they understand the value of embracing failure. It’s not only a great way to...

  • Planning For Expansion or Relocation in 2019?

    Given the strength of today’s economy, business relocations and expansions that were once few and far between are now much more common. Businesses considering significant investments or relocations in 2019 will consider the cost and availability of workforce, logistics, cost of short- and long-term occupancy, and much more when looking for the ideal project site. There needs to be a good community fit as well. While these are all critically important factors to the success of a...
  • Young Adults—On the Road to Financial Success or Disillusionment?

    A recent financial literacy survey conducted by Charles Schwab discovered some interesting findings about how young adults (ages 16 to 25) view their current and future financial well-being. Overall, they’re optimistic. But should they be? Inheritance Coming? Don’t Count on It! You may have heard there’ll be a major shift in wealth to the millennial generation as more baby boomers approach retirement. But if you’re a young adult, don’t celebrate...

  • What Makes Up Quality of Place?

    Economic development is a hot topic these days. With the economy continuing to chug along in robust fashion and unemployment approaching historic lows, communities are refining their objectives and priorities to eek every drop of benefit they can from these financially strong times. Nowhere is this focus greater than with “quality of place,” As cities and states think about how they can distinguish themselves from their peers, a common starting point is developing a...

  • 5 Things Consumers Should Know About Marketplace Health Insurance

    With Open Enrollment underway, many consumers may be faced with questions as they consider their health care coverage options for 2019. In order to take full advantage of your options this year, it’s important to know what’s changed in health care and the best way you can adapt to those changes. CareSource, a nonprofit, multistate health plan, aims to help Hoosiers find and afford the best health insurance for themselves and their families. While the percentage...

  • Dan Arens is an Indiana-based business growth advisor.

    Grow Your Business: Keys to Innovation

    Q-Tips, Cellophane straws and disposable razors all have one thing in common. While the concept of innovation has always existed, there is someone who is credited with creating all of those items. An individual. "Innovation has never come through bureaucracy and hierarchy. It’s always come from individuals." said John Scully, a former chairman of Apple. To add fuel to the fire, Economist Burton Klein examined fifty major innovations developed in America over the...

  • Top Qualities of a Good Team Player at Work

    Building the right team is crucial for the success of a business. While there are several personality types that can make up a great team, all of these members must have a team-first mentality to truly work as a cohesive group. In fact, 97 percent of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project, according to a survey by Clear Company — and if there’s a lack of teamwork, there will most definitely be a lack of...

  • Role Reversal: Becoming Legal Guardian for Elderly Parents

    Are you concerned about your parents’ decision-making abilities and safety as they age? If the situation endangers them or others, a legal guardianship may be required. Your parents cared for you when you were young. Now, it may be your turn. In many cases, durable power of attorney and health-care power of attorney documents are sufficient to assist with maintaining the well-being of your parents.  However, sometimes you need to take extra steps and obtain guardianship to...
  • Environmental Literacy for Indiana’s K-12 Students

    The world’s leading climate scientists have spoken. If left unchecked, the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions not only endangers the health and security of future generations, but could bring major environmental and social crises as soon as 2040. The landmark report issued in October by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts climate-related risk to natural systems as well as to human health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, and...

  • Your Next Star Employee Might Be Someone with a Disability

    Be honest: have you ever pushed aside the resume of an otherwise perfect job candidate because they identified themselves as having a disability? If so, you may have missed an opportunity to hire a talented, loyal and highly skilled employee. Unfortunately, for many businesses that are unfamiliar, the perceived challenges and stigmas of employing individuals with disabilities weigh heavily on hiring decisions and too often result in qualified candidates being overlooked.

  • Incentive Plan Use Rises as Private Companies and NGOs Compete for Talent

    Short-term and long-term incentive plan use continues to be on the rise at private, non-publicly traded companies, as well as at nonprofits and government organizations (NGOs). This is according to recent research conducted by Vivient and WorldatWork. The key takeaway? In a tight labor market, smaller companies and organizations use incentive payouts to level the playing field with larger competitors vying for the same top talent. Indeed, employers at all levels have been...

  • Michael Huber is chief executive officer of the Indy Chamber.

    Increase Cigarette Taxes For Public Health and a Productive Economy

    Indiana prides itself on being a low-cost state to do business, pointing towards rankings like our #10 spot on the Tax Foundation's 'Best State Tax Climate' for 2018. But there’s another top ten position that’s bad news – and a growing burden – for Hoosier businesses. Indiana is also among the states with the highest smoking rates, levels of tobacco use that cost employers billions of dollars in added healthcare expenses and lost productivity...

  • Give your Portfolio a Boost: Diversify During Cyclical Markets

    Since 2008 we’ve experienced one of the longest and strongest bull markets ever. But increased volatility and large market swings have returned, spooking investors and spurring talk of an imminent recession. Don’t panic! Instead, use it to your advantage. Market cycles are a normal part of the process. They can even be beneficial if you use the right strategy. Here’s a tip: Attempting to time stock market drops isn’t the answer! Impending Recession?

  • Corporate Social Responsibility: More Than The 'Right Thing to Do'

    It seems like the holiday season gets marketed earlier with each passing year. This year, I had barely closed the door on my last trick-or-treater when I started seeing and hearing ads announcing that the holiday season, or rather shopping season, had arrived! In today’s competitive economic environment, and perhaps especially during the holiday spending season, companies are focused on gaining new customers, hoping to convert them into loyal customers and improve their bottom...

  • 2018: A Year of Change For Indiana's Broadband

    If you had asked me 10 years ago what the internet would look like in 2018, I’m certain I would not have predicted the major players driving internet usage today – primarily because those drivers were in their infancy at the time. Netflix, for example, had just launched an online streaming service in 2008 to complement its then-groundbreaking (and Blockbuster-destroying) DVD-by-mail service. Today, Netflix streaming consumes 15 percent of the world’s internet...

  • Gray Divorce: What You Should Know

    If you’re age 50 or older and getting a divorce after a long-time marriage, you aren’t alone. According to a Pew Research Center report, the U.S. divorce rate for that age group has practically doubled since 1990. There’s even a term for it --“gray divorce.” While divorce is never an easy issue, it’s usually more complex after decades of marriage. Here are a few items in particular that can impact gray divorcees differently from their younger...

  • Want Your Startup to Move Faster? Use Two Military Strategies

    Speed is everything at a startup. So is discipline. By that, I mean the discipline to stay focused on the most important objectives, to do the late nights and early mornings when we don’t want to do them, and to see the results of our work as objectively as possible. It’s not easy, especially when speed and discipline often seem at odds. We think about this a lot here at Powderkeg. How do we move as fast as possible while remaining as disciplined as possible? We recently...

  • Amazon HQ2 Decision Should Prompt Reflection on State, Local Strategies

    All great leaders I've learned from have emphasized the importance of questioning norms. Why do we do this? Why do we do it that way? As times change, the things we do and the ways in which we do them should reflect those changing conditions. The fact that Indiana was unable to make the final cut for Amazon’s multi-faceted HQ2 mega project when it boasts the 10th-best business climate should cause leaders to pause and ask...

  • Being The Woman You Were Created to Be

    Do you know who you are? Are you walking in your purpose? These questions ring loudly in the ears of many women who are suffering and feel like they will never find success.

  • Marketing is No Mistake

    We all know, "People make mistakes." So true. Yet it's not an excuse for the marketing blunders that seem to reach customers a bit too often. Many can be chalked up to carelessness, insensitivity and lack of relevance or connection. Most organizations could benefit from a communications audit.

  • Can You Recession-Proof Your Investments?

    October was a painful month for stock investors! The S&P 500 stock index dropped 6.8 percent for the month with international stocks faring even worse, down more than 8 percent. These sharp, negative moves sparked many conversations about a coming recession. Should you sell now? We have had a nine-year-plus bull market! This has allowed many investment portfolios to experience tremendous growth. However, during this time, we have also heard many calls for...

  • Robby Slaughter

    Workflow And Satisfaction

    It's a moment that everyone knows - the pleasure of job well done. When you finish clearing snow from the sidewalk, wrap up a major project or close a deal with a handshake, the sense of satisfaction can be overwhelming. We can't always say that we work in order make ourselves happy, but among the greatest feelings we can experience is to cross a task off our list. The satisfaction derived from work is more than just momentary bliss. Satisfaction is an essential...

  • How to be an Intelligent Investor - And Advertiser

    I believe the core principles of value investing in the stock market also apply to the world of advertising. Whether you're buying stocks or advertising, the goal is the same: create a profitable return on your investment. And in each activity, there's a speculative factor with no guarantee for success. Anyone can buy stocks, or bonds, or advertising; it is the intelligent buyers who find value where nobody else is looking.

  • Dan Arens is an Indiana-based business growth advisor.

    Business Growth: Leading From The Top Spot

    Some statistics are meaningful, others are meaningless. Some recent statistics from the Conference Board are sobering. In the first thirteen years of the 21st Century, fully one-fourth of the leaders of Fortune 500 companies who left their employment were forced out. There has been some very interesting research done which can help other leaders avoid that type of departure.

  • College Isn't For Everyone; Consider These Options, as Well

    College is expensive. According to U.S. News, the average tuition and fees at an in-state public college comes out to $9,716, compared with $35,676 for private colleges per year. Public, out-of-state schools cost about $21,629 on average per year. Although college can be the perfect choice for many students, it isn’t right for everyone. At the very least, high school graduates should be aware that...

  • (Image courtesy of Bedel Financial Consulting Inc.)

    Make Your HSA an IRA on Steroids

    What if I told you a Health Savings Account is the most tax efficient and versatile retirement account you own? Believe it or not, with proper planning, an HSA can blow the doors off your 401(k), IRA, or even a Roth IRA! When we think of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), we think of a tax-efficient pass-through vehicle that allows us to make tax-deductible contributions followed by tax-free distributions, reimbursing ourselves for qualified medical expenses.  However, one HSA rule...
  • A Full-Court Press on Poverty

    I recently participated in a panel discussion organized by the Faith & Action Project at the Christian Theological Seminary and featuring best-selling author Michelle Alexander, who spoke passionately about mass incarceration and its impact on persistent poverty, an issue of dismal urgency to Indianapolis. Poverty isn’t typically considered a ‘Chamber of Commerce’ issue.  But as I said during the panel, we have to get real about Indy’s challenges.

  • Year-End Planning In The Wake of Tax Reform 2.0

    House lawmakers recently passed the third and final portion of Tax Reform 2.0, despite the high probability that the Senate will not hold a vote on it because it doesn't seem to have the votes needed to pass. This comes as planning strategies are being considered for year-end tax savings for 2018 by applying the new tax provisions in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Tax Reform 2.0 is actually a collection of three bills...

  • How Would Your Employees React to an Active Shooter?

    It is an ordinary workday until you hear gunfire. In the next few seconds, everyone will go through three steps that will have a profound impact on the outcome of the incident. We've all seen the videos of the aftermath of shootings in places like Parkland, the YouTube campus, and Noblesville. But very little media attention has been given to one of the most important elements of those shootings: how ordinary people react. Disaster response psychologists have identified a...

  • The New Economic Development Paradigm

    Jobs, jobs, jobs. That's been the motto of politicians and economic developers for as long as most of us can remember. The value of any potential project can be measured in a number of ways, but the ultimate value has historically been tied closely to job creation. In Indiana, tax abatements are offered based on plans for creating new jobs. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offers valuable tax credits for companies looking to add to their workforce.

  • Point of Interest (Rates)

    The U.S. Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates. Some say too fast, others say not fast enough. Rising interest rates will impact credit card, mortgage, and student loan rates as well investment returns. What does this mean for your finances? The Federal Reserve and Interest Rates The Federal Reserve (the Fed) controls interest rates by raising and lowering the federal funds rate. This is the rate banks charge each other to lend funds overnight to ensure they meet the Fed&r...
  • Creating Indiana's Own Brand of Innovation

    The big picture for global agriculture is a challenging one. There will be 10 billion people on the planet in 2050, and not surprisingly all those people will want to eat. The amount of arable land available to farm is diminishing. The environment can't absorb the impact of increased chemical and mineral fertilizers, and fresh water is in short supply.

  • Scott Flood is the owner of Scott Flood Writing.

    Fight-or-Flight And Your Website

    When you meet someone new, within the first few seconds, your brain absorbs and analyzes tons of information to deliver an instant read of what you think of that person. You react to a new website much the same way. We may like to think that we’re not judgmental when it comes to people, but it's been hard-wired into us by evolution.

  • When Chaos And Crisis Can Be Your Comrades

    We had (more than) a little challenge this past week at work. One of our keynote speakers pulled out... two weeks before our annual international meeting. This was not good. It caused a lot of crisis and chaos in the office. He was a headliner that a lot of people were eager to hear. While this is definitely a First World problem, we always want to deliver on what we say we'll deliver. Furthermore...

  • Patten is managing partner of Patten Consulting Group.

    How Murray The Cat Improved My Management Perspective

    Strategic planning likely occupies a fair amount of your time right now, particularly in the fourth quarter of an unusual year. As 2019 nears, so does talk of a possible recession, a renewed presidential election cycle and other issues that may be driving an urgent sense of a need for change at your company or organization. As one with several years in C-level executive positions, I've been brought in to...

  • Baby in Your Future?

    There is nothing more special than a new baby! In addition to decorating the nursery, selecting a pediatrician, and buying those first wardrobe pieces, you also need to be financially prepared. And, if either parent will be taking off work, it’s important to understand the parental leave policy. When contemplating a pregnancy or an adoption, be sure to understand your employment benefits. Parental leave policies and insurance benefits can cover associated costs as well as...

  • Big Data's Role in Site Selection

    In the world of site selection, companies assess the pros and cons of various factors to identify the location that best fits their current and future business needs. The list may seem endless: labor availability, utility needs and costs, real estate options, tax climate, incentives, quality-of-life considerations, even an area’s weather patterns and the likelihood of natural disasters. With the emergence of big data and the use of data analytics in all facets of business...

  • How Managers Can Keep Millennials Happy

    There are more than 56 million Millennials either actively participating in the workforce, or searching for a job. With a number like this, it’s no surprise that Millennials have taken the workplace by storm. But what is surprising is how different this generation is from their predecessors. They rely heavily on technology and prefer to communicate via text or email rather than a traditional phone call. Managing millennial employees can be a challenge — how can executives...

  • Wojtowicz founded Indianapolis-based Cambridge Capital Management Corp. in 1983.

    Fixed, Long-Term Interest Rates Protects Against Rate Hikes

    A Hoosier small-business owner recently told his banker that, “Interest rates are as low as they ever will be” in the foreseeable future, and he wanted to get a loan with a “friendly” rate. The Fed made that official recently when it indicated  another quarter-percent rate hike will likely occur in December.  Most pundits expect there to be  three more rate hikes in 2019. Small-business owners are under pressure to act if they are considering...

  • Richardson is a senior manager with Centric Consulting.

    Marketing and Sales Alignment – Easier Than You Think

    There was a time, and perhaps you’re still living in it, where marketing is expected to drive sales leads, conversations, magically help close deals, and all sorts of expectations a marketing team can never meet. This period exists because there is a misalignment in those expectations of what marketing should do and what sales should do. I like to start with the basics. Is your company providing a product or service? Is it easy to sell? Is it cheap? Do your customers buy once?

  • Tax Planning: Now’s the Time to Tackle It!

    Year-end is still months away, but smart investors have already begun their tax planning. Spending time analyzing your capital-gain situation could benefit you come next April 15th, no matter what investment vehicles you use - individual securities, mutual funds, exchange traded funds, or others. Here's how…

  • You Probably Don't Know Your Customers All That Well

    If your objective is to increase the number of customers you serve, a prudent way to start is by taking a closer look at the customers you already have. If that sounds odd, consider that the customers you already work with are presumably happy with the work you perform on their behalf. If you use what you know about them and what you do for them as a model, you can more effectively identify other prospective customers with similar traits. In addition, the better you know your...

  • How Hoosiers Can Help Fight Food Insecurity

    According to Feeding America, one in every eight Americans suffer from food insecurity. When looking at the state of Indiana, that margin narrows to one in seven Hoosiers, or one in every six children. These numbers represent 42 million Americans (one million Hoosiers) that lack consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. As Indiana’s population continues to grow, it’s crucial that Hoosiers address the challenges of food insecurity that can lead...

  • Helping Curb The Opioid Epidemic

    It's no secret that prescription drug abuse has turned into an epidemic throughout the U.S. Everyday, more than 115 people die from overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the total economic burden of prescription misuse in the U.S. to be at $78.5 billion a year, which includes health care costs, treatment and criminal justice involvement. CareSource, a nonprofit health plan, is...

  • When Employees Grieve

    Our society often struggles in dealing effectively with the grief process, but when that struggle reaches the workplace, new dynamics are presented. Frankly, it's never more important for your business to develop genuine empathy and show its compassionate side. Personal experience has shown we have a lot of work to do in dealing with grief in the workplace. It's important to understand your employees can grieve for a variety of reasons. The obvious is the death of a loved one or...

  • Is Your Financial Institution Right for You?

    Why did you decide to bank with your current provider? My first bank was the same community bank my parents used. When I moved out of state, I picked my new bank purely out of convenience. A branch of a national chain was located right across from my apartment. Looking back, I wish I had put more thought into my decision. How about you? So, What Are My Options? The four primary types of financial institutions include national banks, local banks, credit unions, and online banks. Each...
  • Howell is president and chief executive officer of Conexus Indiana.

    Manufacturing Day Sheds Light on Evolving Industry

    Manufacturing Day began more than 6 years ago as a national celebration to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Today, hundreds of thousands of students, young adults, parents, educators and manufacturers set aside time in late September and early October to celebrate the importance and impact of high-tech advanced manufacturing facilities to get a first-hand glimpse of the exciting career opportunities available in this evolving industry. The idea is...

  • Robby Slaughter

    News Flash: Most Phone Calls Are Interruptions

    There’s something special about reading this blog post. It’s not me. It’s not us. It’s the fact that you decided to look, click, and keep going. That makes it distinctive from other forms of media. An astonishing amount of the information in our world arrives as interruptions. That means we have no choice but to deal with it (or at least spend time ignoring it.) 

  • Dan Arens is an Indiana-based business growth advisor.

    Business Growth With Workplace Happiness

    Happiness is a state of mind. Which "state" people are in at work can be a contentious issue. According to a recent survey by the Harvard Business Review, the workplace is an expression of your personal core values more than 63 percent of the time. With the desire to be happy being of paramount importance to most members of the human race and the fact that most people spend more than one third of their lives working, obtaining happiness in the workplace is a worthy goal to...

  • Matt Hunckler is founder and chief executive officer of Powderkeg.

    What We Owe Denver And Boulder

    Every year, we see a parade of annual rankings hit our social feeds and inboxes. Best places to found a startup, fastest growing hubs, hottest city for tech jobs and variations of those. They're exciting. For media outlets, they generate clicks, shares and comments. For us in the cities that make that make these lists, we feel validated. Despite how breezily those headlines float through the online space, building a tech hub is a years-long process (some would argue decades-long)...

  • Margin Loans: A Savvy Way to Use Your Brokerage Account?

    Many investors are not even aware they can borrow against a portfolio, much less the implications of doing so. This tool can be a saving grace or a wrecking ball when it comes to your assets. So, could it help you? It all depends on the timing and the conditions. How Does a Margin Loan Work? As a general rule, individual investors are able to margin their brokerage account and borrow as much as 50 percent of the value of the assets in the account. But, brokerage firms can have...

  • Scott Flood is the owner of Scott Flood Writing.

    Should Your Business Get Political?

    You have remarkably strong feelings about a current political issue, and as a business owner or manager, you see yourself as a thought leader. While you unquestionably have a right to make a public stand, maybe that's not such a good idea. Perhaps you're tempted to toss your own two cents into the fray and publicly share your beliefs on political policy, taxes, race relations, climate change, gun ownership, the national anthem, or any of the dozens of fractious issues...

  • Developing Your Organization's Security Toolkit

    Security isn't a door, a lock, a guard, an alarm, or a gun. It's a state of mind, a philosophy, and a strategy that says the people for whom you're responsible will not only be safe from a variety of threats, but that they'll also feel safe. Businesses and other organizations often think of security as a discrete element of their operations, but it's actually something that should be woven through every aspect and shared by every manager and employee.

  • Environmental Change is Here And It Is Costing Indiana

    Climate change is not just about what's going to happen years in the future or in remote parts of the world. The impact of environmental change is being felt now, in communities across the United States and here in Indiana. We are seeing changes right now that are disrupting our homes, businesses, and communities. From farmers facing low yields brought on by drought to municipal governments trying to salvage flood-ravaged small towns...

  • 2019 Economic Development Wishes For Indiana

    As we begin a new year, most Hoosiers are filled with hope and optimism for their families. Economic conditions continued to improve in 2018 and the outlook for 2019 is positive. There is much hard work ahead, but our state's leaders have proven that they can tackle major challenges and look to the future. Here are my top economic development wishes for Indiana as we begin a new year...

  • (Image courtesy of Bedel Financial Consulting Inc.)

    Child Identity Theft: Are Your Children at Risk?

    Sounds absurd, doesn't it? However, young children are prime targets for identity theft. Experian estimates that one of every four children will fall victim to identity theft before age 18. How does this happen? More importantly, how can you prevent it from happening to your child? Untangling child identity theft can be time-consuming and costly. It could even require changing your child's first and middle name and obtaining a new Social Security number to clear his/her credit record...
  • Expand Your Workforce to Include The Deaf Community

    While there are arguably many minority groups that are grossly underutilized in the workforce, I’d wager that most people do not consider the Deaf community when thinking about diversity and inclusion strategies. The Deaf community shares a unique culture that is closely networked, but few employers know how to tap into this community, which comprises 10 percent of the population. In fact, many people probably see barriers for the Deaf community when it comes to employment...

  • How Technology And Innovation Can Transform The Classroom

    As we continue to embark through the Information Age, it's crucial for educators to implement new strategies that will meet the needs of both students and industries. Thanks to recent technology and innovative solutions, students are gaining more and more access to education outside the classroom, thereby expanding their learning and career opportunities in a variety of ways.

  • Are Tax Incentives an Economic Development Answer?

    Economic development deals are in the news all the time. As companies announce expansions or headquarter relocations, the media is rife with details about incentives offered to secure these projects. Some argue that these incentives would not be necessary if governments did not compete against one another for projects. But the fact is, competition does exist. As a result...

  • Do You Make These Top 5 Marketing Mistakes?

    Picture this: You’re the CEO of a multi-million dollar company. In just a few short years, you have led your firm in quickly become a rising star within your industry. Now, you’re ready to make your entrance into the big leagues known at this year’s premier tradeshow. The only problem is that your rapid growth has outpaced your "DIY" marketing. And to be taken seriously at the next level, your company needs a strong marketing message that clearly...

  • Currency Risk Hidden in Your Portfolio?

    Developing economies worldwide are coming under pressure as their countries’ currencies depreciate against the U.S. dollar. Is this economic pressure due to their own shortcomings, and therefore contained within their borders, or should we be concerned about a contagion risk that could spread to the global economy? And what does this mean for your portfolio? Why Are Emerging Markets’ Currencies Depreciating? This rapid emerging-market currency depreciation is the...

  • (Image courtesy of the USDA.)

    USDA Rural Development: A Major Part of Rural America

    Rural Development is likely not the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the United State Department of Agriculture.  Most folks think of the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Food and Nutrition, or Risk Management.  However, there is a good chance that USDA Rural Development touches your life every day. We have long been known for our role in economic development, and that is one of the key elements identified by the...

  • When The Tail Wags The Dog

    We had carefully studied the client's stated objectives and analyzed the budget, then created a strategy that addressed both with great efficiency. So we were startled when our plan was completely tossed out the window. The reason? One of the executives walked into the meeting and said...

  • Perspectives: INPower

    • Educating New and Current Workforce to Fulfill Advancing Energy Sector Needs

      As entire industries begin moving toward hybrid, electrified, and advanced power sources, a new set of talent and expertise is required in the workforce. In 2018, advanced clean energy jobs outnumbered fossil fuel jobs by four to one in the Midwest. Today, Asia and Europe are ahead of the U.S., as the needs for advanced power and batteries have grown exponentially. The state of Indiana is now well on its way to leading a new job growth with projects in the electrification of private...

    • Environmental Literacy for Indiana’s K-12 Students

      The world’s leading climate scientists have spoken. If left unchecked, the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions not only endangers the health and security of future generations, but could bring major environmental and social crises as soon as 2040. The landmark report issued in October by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts climate-related risk to natural systems as well as to human health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, and...

    • Discovery Park's Innovation Impact

      Together with the city of West Lafayette, Purdue University is embarking on a transformational placemaking project to create a new innovation community called Discovery Park District (DPD).  Comprised of more than 200-plus acres, more than $1 billion in new public/private development, and spanning the next 30 years, the vision for DPD is to create a so-called “smart community” that will become a destination for students, faculty, residents, companies, innovators, and...

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  • Perspectives: Manufacturing & Logistics

    • New Emissions Regulations to Hit The Bottom Line

      Starting Jan. 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organization will require all fuels used by container ships to contain no more than 0.5 percent sulfur. The cap is a significant reduction from the existing sulfur limit, which is 3.5 percent, and is well below the industry average of 2.7 percent sulfur content. The new regulation is a year away, but the impact will hit the bottom line in 2019 for companies that import or export goods.

    • How VR and AR Can Help Keep Engineers Safe and Manufacturing Strong

      The 2018 Indiana Manufacturing Survey, published by accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller, found that 91 percent of Hoosier manufacturers expected to see increases in revenue in 2018. After years of uncertainty, the local manufacturing industry remains a competitive force in the state, in part because of the availability of smart, connected and often automated technology. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are no exception, and the application of these technologies...

    • NSWC Crane Can Strengthen Indy's Economy

      Roughly 80 miles southwest of Indianapolis, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane is home to more than 3,200 personnel - approximately two-thirds of them scientists, engineers and skilled technicians. It's the only naval base not on a coast, a unique operation with a singular focus: Overcoming the technical challenges facing America's military to build a decisive technological advantage over our adversaries. 

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  • Perspectives: Life Sciences

    • Indiana’s major research institutions impact our economy, talent, innovation and communities

      From the state’s earliest beginnings, research universities have contributed significantly to Indiana’s society and economy. Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame have a powerful impact on our state with a combined 1.44 million living alumni, $1.3 billion in annual research expenditures, and resources that touch all 92 counties. 

    • Coy also held economic development positions in Missouri, Delaware and Pennsylvania

      Indianapolis’ Relentless Pursuit of Collaborative Innovation

      Some of the best innovations happen in the most unexpected places. Who would have thought a building that once housed beer kegs for the Indianapolis 500 would someday become the innovation center for advancements in regenerative medicine? 

    • Indiana - Home to Unparalleled Agbioscience Innovation + Talent

      The Indiana agbiosciences have been shining brightly these last few months. And, people are doing more than simply “taking notice” – they are joining our movement.  Because I know the word is still a bit new to many, let me offer a brief refresh. 

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  • Perspectives: Ag INnovation

    • Rural Nonprofits Lack Planning Expertise

      There have been several efforts targeting the advancement of rural communities and their welfare. However, the nonprofits that play a pivotal role in providing service to these same areas are struggling to operate efficiently. A recent survey conducted puts the focus on their plight. Our firm appealed to over 100 organizations in a 20-county area focused in southeastern Indiana, bordered primarily by Interstates 65 and 70. The results were not surprising.

    • Avoiding Accidental Franchise Pitfalls

      Most people think they know a “franchise” when they see one—McDonald’s, Subway, 7-Eleven, Anytime Fitness, to name a few. However, there are some franchise relationships that are not so obvious. Many business relationships, including those in manufacturing and distribution, could easily become “accidental” franchises if companies are not careful. 

    • Innovate, Collaborate and Take Indiana to the Next Level

      When I think about what makes Indiana so great, many things come to mind: our stellar business climate, our world-class life sciences industry, our cutting-edge technology scene, and our enviable agriculture sector.  

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  • Perspectives: BigWigs & New Gigs

    • Why Do Business Owners Need a Transition Plan? - Understanding Key Considerations For Transitioning Out of a Business

      Why do business owners need a transition plan? The six core reasons: transitioning likely is the most important financial transaction of an owner’s life; is complex; financial security of an owner depends on the creation and implementation of an effective plan; other parties may depend on owner and business; subjects owner and business to various types of risk and with no plan, an owner will likely leave money on the table and fail to achieve value-based goals.

    • Leadership in The 21st Century - The LEAD Program: Foundational Principle One: B = f (P x E)

      Kurt Lewin was one of the first psychologists to propose that human behavior was the product of interactions between a person’s internal predispositions (nature) and their life experiences (nurture). This conception was originally presented by Lewin in the form of the mathematical equation B = f (P,E) known as Lewin’s Equation for behavior. It states that behavior is a function (f) of the person (P) interacting with their environment (E) to create a dynamic life space.

    • Top Qualities of a Good Team Player at Work

      Building the right team is crucial for the success of a business. While there are several personality types that can make up a great team, all of these members must have a team-first mentality to truly work as a cohesive group. In fact, 97 percent of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project, according to a survey by Clear Co., and if there’s a lack of teamwork, there will most definitely be a lack of alignment.

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  • Most Popular Stories

    • Indiana Liquor Group to Buy Save-On Liquor Chain

      Indiana Liquor Group LLC will work with the Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission this week for final approval of its purchase of Save-On Liquor stores. Our partners at The Herald Bulletin report Phillip E. Miller agreed to sell the 31-location package store chain to ILG last month. 

    • Loeb Stadium Project in Final Design Phase

      The $17 million overhaul of Loeb Stadium in Lafayette is in its final planning stages. The Journal & Courier says the overall design of the project is complete, which includes flipping the field, an additional suite and a new entrance designed to be a more visible landmark. Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski unveiled plans for the reimagining of the more than 75-year-old stadium in 2017. The city council earlier this month approved a $17 million bond to fund the project.

    • BMWC Constructors Announce Leadership Changes

      Indianapolis-based BMWC Constructors, Inc. continues their strategic growth with leadership changes. Chairman of the Board Jim Davis retired after eight years in the role and after 30 years with the company.  President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Acton will move into the role of Chairman of the Board, while remaining CEO. 

    • New Tourism Director Has Plans For Growth

      The new director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development says she hopes to create a strategic plan to continue the growth of tourism in the state. Misty Weisensteiner began her new role earlier this month after being appointed by Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch in December. The former executive director of the Orange County Economic Development Partnership says tourism and economic development go hand-in-hand and there needs to be a greater focus on that relationship.

    • Eleven Fifty Says State Support Will Bring '100x Return'

      As Eleven Fifty Academy looks to expand statewide, founder Scott Jones is looking to state legislators for support. He says Next Level Jobs legislation two years ago allowed the coding academy to access about $1.5 million to grow its programs, which he says will result in $150 million in Hoosier income over 10 years. Jones is now looking for up to $20 million, which he says could lead to $1.5 billion in Hoosier income over a decade. During an interview on Inside INdiana Business...